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Five Tajiks Sentenced For Fighting In Syria

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's Supreme Court has sentenced five of the country's citizens to around two years in jail for fighting on the side of antigovernment forces in Syria.

Tajikistan's State Committee for National Security said on December 24 that the five were students at the Syrian International University who decided to join Syrian rebel forces.

All five were detained in October when they returned to Tajikistan.

Since Tajikistan does not have a law against "mercenaries," the five were charged with "participation in a criminal group or in other armed groups."

The lawyer for one of the defendants complained there was no proof the five had actually participated in fighting while they were in Syria.

Earlier this year, there were reports several Tajik nationals were killed in fighting in Syria.

With reporting by